As much as I love pastry cream, I think crème Suisse, or Swiss cream, is even better. It is made by ‘lightening’ a batch of vanilla pastry cream with softly whipped cream and it has a delicious, almost intriguing vanilla flavor and a velvety soft, fluffy texture.
It’s simply amazing!
I like to use real vanilla bean in this recipe, as I think it gives the crème Suisse (or the pastry cream for that matter) a somewhat softer, smoother flavor than vanilla extract or paste. Having said that, don’t hesitate to substitute the bean with paste or extract if it’s all you have on hand! I’ve used both with great results.
This is my plain vanilla version of crème Suisse, but under ‘Building Blocks’ you can also find a version to which gelatin is added. The addition of gelatin makes the crème Suisse the perfect filling for cakes, tarts or even mille-feuilles (aka: vanilla slices). This version, without gelatin, is perfect for cream puffs, trifles, or other spoonable desserts, like this cute, Mini Drambuie Trifle!
- 480ml (or 2 cups) whole milk
- ¾ vanilla bean
- 80g (or ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) granulated sugar
- 40g (or ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon) custard powder (or cornstarch)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 20g (or 5 teaspoons) granulated sugar
- 200ml (or ¾ cup + 4 teaspoons) heavy whipping cream
- Combine the milk, the vanilla bean and 80g of sugar in a small saucepan. In a small bowl, stir together the custard powder (or cornstarch) with a little splash of milk. It should turn into a smooth paste. Add a little more milk to make it fairly liquid. Add the yolks and 20g of sugar and whisk until frothy and well combined. Over low heat, gently heat the milk mixture until scalding.
- Take the milk off the heat and drizzle it into the cornstarch and egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and gently heat over medium-high heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens into pastry cream. Transfer the hot pastry cream to a heatproof bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool to room temperature.
- Once the pastry cream has cooled, whip up the cream until it holds soft peaks and, using a rubber spatula, fold it into the pastry cream. Use it in cakes, tarts, cream puffs and trifles!
- Tip: if desired, gelatin can be added. Check out 'Crème Suisse with Gelatin' under 'Building Blocks'.